On 15th September 1940, Battle of Britain Day, TM-B's pilot Sgt Ray Holmes had been tasked with intercepting a large midday raid by German bombers en route to Central London. Towards the culmination of the combat, and with ammunition exhausted, Ray spotted a solitary Dornier bomber heading resolutely in the direction of Buckingham Palace. In a flash he knew there was only one way to stop it - “to hit it for six”.
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1, similar to P2725 TM-B
German Dornier bomber crash site on the forecourt
of Victoria Station
Ray’s judgement was precise, TM-B’s wing slicing through the Dornier, severing the bomber’s tail. But TM-B was also terminally damaged. Abandoning the Hurricane, Ray took to his parachute moments before TM-B slammed into the ground, burying herself deep beneath the crossroads where Buckingham Palace Road meets Ebury Bridge, London SW1. Meanwhile Ray Holmes’ victim had crashed with spectacular effect upon the forecourt of Victoria railway station. The incident was to become one of the most celebrated of the entire Battle of Britain because of when it happened, where it happened and what had happened.
P2725 TM-B’s crash site on 15th September 1940 in Buckingham Palace Road, with the Art Metal building
featured in the background
After many years of dedicated research Christopher Bennett pinpointed and recovered the remnants of the historic fighter from beneath Buckingham Palace Road, including TM-B’s smashed Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, in one of the most challenging feats of aviation archaeology ever attempted. Whilst the most significant wreckage recovered remains on display in the Imperial War Museum, as an afterthought and tribute to one man’s remarkable bravery and England’s defiance in the turbulent days of 1940 Christopher struck upon the concept of transforming some otherwise useless corroded shards of aluminium casing from TM-B’s Merlin into sculptures of the Hurricane, made of the Hurricane, an example of which he personally presented to Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The excavation originated and coordinated by Christopher Bennett to recover TM-B’s remains sixty-four years later in 2004
Christopher Bennett shows TM-B’s pilot, Ray Holmes, the recovered control column which Ray had last held on 15th September 1940
Such was the fascination in the Hurricane sculptures specifically - sculptures that possessed a true physical DNA connection to this incredibly historic aircraft and unique event - and in the provenance concept in general that Christopher realised there may be a commercial opportunity for such items and decided to expand the collection. Thus TMB Art Metal was born – a unique luxury brand that designs and creates, by hand, limited edition cufflinks, sculptures and collectibles which always boasts original ex-subject donor material in their fabrication.
The largest section of P2725’s Rolls-Royce Merlin engine on display in the Imperial War Museum
Otherwise useless shards of smashed and corroded aluminium engine casing used to craft sculptures of TM-B made of TM-B
Incidentally, the TMB Art Metal name in itself has provenance. TMB, of course, originates from P2725’s squadron code “TM-B”, whilst Art Metal was the name of the company on the corner of Buckingham Palace Road and Ebury Bridge back in 1940. Called Art Metal Steel Office Furniture, this building, which featured prominently in the motion picture film taken by the fire brigade of TM-B’s crash site on 15th September 1940, was a vital piece of evidence in Christopher’s quest to locate the Hurricane's resting place. Indeed without Art Metal, TM-B would likely still be lying 12 feet beneath that busy road junction and TMB Art Metal would never have been created!
The shards were initially melted and cast into ingots on 15th September 2004, the 64th anniversary of the crash, this adding to the provenance
As cast, one of the very first ever TMB creations, sculptures of TM-B made of TM-B
The Hurricane sculptures put TMB’s name on the map but it’s their automotive pieces that have proved equally popular. This range includes items that incorporate original donor metal from such hugely valuable and iconic cars as a £15 million Ferrari 250GTO, the equally prized Aston Martin DBR1 that claimed victory during the 1959 Le Mans and Sir Malcolm Campbell's first Bluebird land speed record car. With his personal knowledge and approval, TMB have even created a range of cufflinks using the redundant pistons from Prince Charles Aston Martin DB6 car, his coveted 21st birthday present from Her Majesty The Queen!
One of the sculptures of TM-B presented to Her Majesty The Queen during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace
Although unquestionably visually beautiful, it’s the history of the donor material behind TMB’s creations that makes them special - the knowledge that one's cufflinks incorporate metal that soared heroically in the skies over London during England’s finest hour, clocked up hundreds of thousands of miles on the Flying Scotsman, the world's most famous steam locomotive, or thundered down Pendine Sands in 1925 during man's early quest for speed that will resonate with those seeking something special that transcends the norm.